Photo by Dusdin Condren.
We’re back in the studio this week to record the second project of the 2010 Project Series. This time we’ve taken a softer turn—towards the sounds of Brooklyn neofolk songwriter Sharon Van Etten.
Sharon and her band drove down from New York last night, and, after some showers and coffee to wake them up, they’re up and ready, getting set to record. They ran through the song a few minutes ago and I can’t quite explain just how beautiful it is. For me, smooth honest folk has always been at the heart of what makes music so powerful. Its earnest intimacy embodies the relationship music creates between performer and listener, that perfect moment when the distance between the two disappears. It’s natural, bare, and real. This song is all of those things, rich with deep sounds and shapes. I can tell already, and we’ve barely started the day.
If you spent any time reveling in the glory of the 90s’ post-punk, lo-fi sounds, you’ll certainly remember Philadelphia’s Strapping Fieldhands. As AMG puts it, the then-quintet was one of the most charming of the scene’s ramshackle-style bands, and made waves touring with contemporaries like Pavement and Guided By Voices before their late 90s hiatus. A decade later they’re here with us at Miner Street Studios, recording the first project of Weathervane’s 2010 Project Series.
I’m hanging out in the control room all day, tweetin’ & bloggin’ about the recording process from behind the scenes, as it happens. The band is the first selection from our winter season curator, Daniel Smith (aka Danielson, whose “Moment Soakers” closed out the 2009 Series), who’s in here today to produce the song.
We’ve also got Devin Greenwood in here engineering, Phil Bradshaw, Bryan Baker, and Andy Williams documenting everything for the HD profiles, and BJ Downs shooting extra behind-the-scenes footage.
The guys are still working on getting the levels for all the instruments set, but soon we’ll be underway recording. Follow us over on Twitter to watch things as they happen! I’ll be posting some crappy blurry pics (to Twitpic) from my Android phone for now, but we’ll have some much nicer stills from BJ posted to our Flickr soon. And I’ll make sure to post all the great little moments along the way.
And let us know what you think! There’s a lot of exciting stuff happening this month for us, and we can’t wait to show you.
I appreciate this article on many points (See the BrokenBottleBoy article down below my comments).
I know very few musicians who set out to be one in order to have a life of free booze. If anything, young kids entering the life romanticize the starving artist lifestyle (an equally unhealthy lifestyle, in the long run…especially when alcohol and drugs are part of the image).
There is a great deal of disdain for musicians bubbling up around discussions of how they will eek out a living. The conversation usually starts: “How can musicians make a living in this ‘brave new world?’” Inevitably, when non-musicians enter the conversation (even ones who are big fans of music, surprisingly), the point starts to hint at “they don’t deserve to make the types of livings they once did”.
Now, by far and away MOST musicians never did make such livings. We should all make that perfectly clear. Most aspiring musicians have failed or will fail to make music a full time living, only after trying to with severely compromised, even DANGEROUSLY low standards of living.
On the other hand, the moguls of the industry (ie. major artists and labels) took their audiences for granted for decades. I personally feel that rather than lump 99.99% of artists in with these moguls, and engaging in condescending finger wagging, we should simply agree that if we love music, if it makes our lives better, then we should support the people responsible for it, not only as a matter of gratitude, but as a means to perpetuating its positive effects in our lives. While many think they support music already, we also need to step back and assess what “supporting” really means. It’s a lot of simple actions but far too few people participate in any of them.
No industry should believe it has the right to exist. Changes in technology and human behaviour have erased whole swathes of jobs throughout human history. The coal industry in the UK has shrunk to almost nothing, nobody weeps for the decline of the chimney sweeps.
But somehow, the music industry believes that it has some kind of divine right to exist as it has done since the early 20th century – creating recordings of songs and selling them for a premium. But the music hasn’t always existed and it will not exist in its current form for much longer.
Edison tested his first phonograph recordings in 1877. Since then formats have come and gone until the invention of the MP3, tied with the growth of the Internet as a broadcast medium began to eat viciously into the vast profits the music industry made from CDs in the 1990s.
The arguments about how the music industry could and should have addressed the challenge of the Internet have been discussed constantly and at length of years now. The simple fact is that it failed to, believing instead that it could pull its legal muscle together to slap down illegal file-sharing like a giant and interminable game of whack-a-mole.
Streaming services like Spotify and Sky Songs (which is arguably a stronger proposition with its bundle of one free album to download a month) are potentially the future for the music industry. But they simply do not make very much money for artists of labels (with royalty rates often as low as £0.007 a play). Compared to radio play, streaming services are simply not lucrative for artists.
But ultimately, there is a disconnect between what mainstream artists think they deserve and what they are likely to achieve. While a few mega-acts will earn millions from massive singles that end up synched on movie soundtracks, TV shows and adverts, most artists will have to live a far more frugal live than the artists that went before them. The ice age is coming for the music industry and the age of the dinosaurs is almost at an end. Bands like U2 and latterly Coldplay are a denying breed of mega-saurus arena dwelling beasts.
Musicians will split even further into two general categories – pop conduits for svengalis like Simon Cowell (a model of pop music that is eerily enduring) and artists whose fan bases will become like an atomised version of old school patrons. Building a following through gigging, an engagement from the social tools available to them, they’ll manage to earn money from touring and from recording records on a reasonable budget, either partnering with indie labels which will become more like collectives or working for themselves.
The traditional idea of the multi-millionaire rockstar will come to an end. The idea that a musician, by dint of their talent, is entitled to unparalled riches and life in a bubble of privilege will become less prevalent. Mega-stars won’t die completely because there is a restless and relentless desire for new fodder in the entertainment media but they’ll be rarer and far less wealthy than the Jaggers and McCartneys that stalked the world before them.
I don’t think that has to be a bad thing. I think artists can learn to be less tied to deals with record labels that leave them out of pocket after advances they can’t ever earn back. They can live within their means and build a business on the back of their talents. If they connect with fans and maintain a careful balance between mystery and engagement it’ll be possible to make a decent living and encourage fans to pay for gigs, merchandise and importantly recordings themselves.
The other great benefit of the music industry as artisan economy is that it will mean a reduction in the number of second albums that are written about “the perils of fame”. In the elevator life of the rock’n’roll band, it is the rare act that can continue to express the universal themes that are often the exact reason they have become successful.
Musicians shouldn’t be trapped in squats or struggling to eat but a life of free booze isn’t always conducive to writing songs that connect with people crammed on rush hour tube trains and staring at bank balances in the hope that the rent will get paid or the mortgage is under control. It’s a lesson most writers should learn actually. Privilege almost always strangles interesting art.
[THE FOLLOWING ARTICLE WAS ORIGINALLY POSTED ON THE FUTURE OF MUSIC COALITION’S WEBSITE. THANKS TO KRISTIN THOMSON AND CASEY RAE-HUNTER FOR THE INTRODUCTION AND THIS GREAT OPPORTUNITY TO TALK ABOUT SUCH IMPORTANT THINGS!]
Today’s post is by Brian McTear, co-founder of Philadelphia’s Weathervane Music Organization– a nonprofit community that works with independent musicians to support and advance their careers. Weathervane’s efforts revolve around a program called the Weathervane Music Project Series: a curated series of audio and video recordings featuring the artists, their music and artfully produced video of the actual recording sessions.
When some people think about the lives of musicians, they may still imagine wild parties and fancy sports cars. There may be a party from time to time, but for most musicians, pursuing their art isn’t exactly the fast track to a life of luxury. With the traditional music industry in a state of what could safely be called disarray, there isn’t a ready-made recipe for sustainable careers. The good news is that people still put their hearts and souls into making music, and there are still plenty of fans out there that want to support creators. But what’s the best way to do so?
With so many things in flux, it’s not always easy to know which method of fan support will have the biggest impact. That’s why we figured it might be useful to take a look at some of the ways you can support your favorite artists and how it can positively impact those musicians’ bottom lines — directly or indirectly.
- Go see your favorite bands play live. In the music industry, an artist is rarely handed money directly. In pretty much every other situation, a band gets its cut of revenues only after everyone else in line is paid. (And that can be a long line!) But when it comes to playing live, most get paid right when the night is over. Because of this I say that if you are friends with a band and they offer to put you on their guest list, you should… Decline! Pay instead! You will show your class in spades.
- When you go see shows, buy hard copies of your favorite bands’ music. Most smaller signed artists get “tour support” from their record label in the form of free records to sell at shows. Buying a CD from the band means they can buy gas to get them to the next gig. Conversely, if they don’t sell them, all they’re really doing is wasting gas driving them around the country. So if you are offered a free CD or vinyl LP (because naturally they want you to hear their music, right?), opt to pay for it. You are doing the right thing, and saving them from themselves.
- Buy your favorite bands’ merchandise. Very often, artists pay for their t-shirts themselves, or even MAKE them with their own hands. This means that they did, in fact, shell out the money for materials, and possibly someone else’s labor if they used a printer. Help them break even, or maybe even turn a profit! This is another rare opportunity in the scheme of things for the musicians to be first in line. Help them out!
- Purchase downloads legitimately. Purchasing digital downloads from services like iTunes, Amazon, eMusic or Rhapsody also puts money in artists’ pockets. When it comes to digital downloads, there’s a wide spectrum of rates, and some artists profit more than others. Although there’s a common assumption that artists only make pennies on their iTunes or Rhapsody sales, this depends entirely on the label/distribution situation. The more independent an artist is — and certainly if the artist is unsigned and they self-released using Tune-Core (a service that doesn’t take a cut of the sales) the greater the percentage they stand to make from the download.
- Use a legitimate streaming service such as Rhapsody, Napster, Pandora or Spotify (not yet available in the US). If you require an unfathomably large collection of music, this is the way to go. Not only are they safe for your computer, but since these services are properly licensed, the songwriter, publisher, performer and copyright owner (usually a record label) get paid for each stream of their song. It’s currently a small amount, but if you play it again and again, it adds up! Beyond payment, there are many valuable statistics and web metrics an artist can access when you use these services. This way, they know where people are digging their stuff and can plan their tours and releases accordingly.
- Contribute to Band Fundraisers – Gone are the days of record advances, at least for new artists. Unfortunately, this is how they paid to record and to go on tour. Now, many artists are using fundraising sites such as Kickstarter.com to raise money in advance of these activities. Enjoy the opportunity to support the music you love before it even gets made! Another huge class act!
- Subscribe to artists’ fan clubs. By doing so, you not only get first access to news and tour dates, you also help to legitimize and support one of the smartest, most industrious things an artist can do for their career.
- Join a band’s email list. By simply becoming a fan on their Facebook Fan Page, or their Myspace Page, the artist doesn’t have your data, Facebook and Myspace do! If for some reason they lose their account with either, they lose you and you lose them. It’s a simple process, and most artists know not to email you constantly!
- Support nonprofits that support musicians. I can truly say that far too few musicians are participating in conversations about where this industry is going. The inevitable result will be that musicians, again, end up at the far end of the line. Organizations such as (..ahem….) Future of Music Coalition, Weathervane Music and others are staffed by people who are dedicated to making sure that artists can achieve sustainable and lucrative careers in music.
- Stop using Torrent sites. Go back and buy the records of the artists you fell in love with by using Torrent sites. The simple act of paying for the music that you love will surely buy back your ticket to heaven. And of course, we don’t even need to go into the dangers of downloading from Torrent sites, anyway.
Brian McTear is a musician, producer, recording engineer and the owner of Miner Street Recordings, the Philadelphia recording studio revered by independent musicians around the country. In the 13 years that McTear has worked in Philadelphia, he has produced over 100 records, has played a large part in the resurgence and success of the independent music community in Philadelphia, and the national and international success of several recording artists. McTear writes songs and sings in the band Bitter bitter weeks, and plays guitar with The Novenas.
Hey everybody! Today, we are very proud (and totally psyched!) to debut the fourth and final installment of 2009’s Project Series: Danielson’s “Moment Soakers.” In the last fifteen years, Danielson has earned a cult-like following for their experimental style and the unabashed celebration of life in their music. Ever evolving as a collaborative project between band leader Daniel Smith, his family, and many friends – including Sufjan Stevens, Deerhoof, and Why? – Danielson creates a kaleidoscope of musical images that shatter notions of traditional song structure and without fear artfully embrace the Christian values that tie the Danielson family together. “Moment Soakers” epitomizes this aesthetic; it’s about enjoying the company of the moment – about enjoying the now – in a contemporary world of hyperactivity. Shot by Tom Quinn (The New Year Parade), video from Danielson’s Weathervane session is now up at WeathervaneMusic.org, where you’ll also be able to stream the song through Apollo Audio. Sounds Familyre Records will digitally release “Moment Soakers” November 17th and shortly after as a 7” vinyl record in early December. And we can’t wait to see Marji Fortin’s music video for the song! In the first week of the month, an animated video for “Moment Soakers” created by the PBS animator (for children’s show Word Girl), will be released throughout the Internet – and we’ll have it for you right here on our blog. See Danielson at November 12th’s Benefit Concert Danielson will join the other 2009 Project Series artists to perform for our Year End Concert-Fundraiser at Johnny Brenda’s - in just two weeks! Sunset, East Hundred, Danielson, and BC Camplight will perform full sets to celebrate the 2009 Series, and to help us raise some much-needed dollars to fund 2010’s! Get your tickets through Johnny Brenda’s, or by donating to our Kickstarter campaign. And don’t forget - there are still 3 days left to get yourself into our VIP Party for a special solo performance from Dr. Dog’s Scott McMicken! You can do so by donating to the Kickstarter campaign at the $250 level or higher. For more info, check out our Occasional letter from Monday.
If I haven’t said it enough already, Tom Quinn, the Philadelphia Filmmaker who wrote and directed The New Year Parade, is one helluva an awesome dude. Tom volunteered to shoot the Danielson Project Series Session that will release in less than a week (Oct 26, to be precise). And back to that film of his? Well, that film is probably about 75-90% of how we knew of his helluva goodness to start with. [Late edit: Philadelphia band, Eastern Conference Champions’ Greg Lyons plays the lead role!] If you are in Philadelphia, it WILL be playing at the Ritz Bourse Theater, 400 Ranstead Street Philadelphia, October 30 through November 5. Don’t miss your chance to see this limited run of a truly excellent film made in Philadelphia!
Next Monday, October 26th, we’ll be premiering Danielson’s Weathervane Music Project, “Moment Soakers” on our Projects page! This is the last release of the 2009 season, and we’re very proud of this final installment.
It’s not often that a senior thesis turns into a music career, but for South Jersey’s Daniel Smith, that’s exactly how it all began. The eldest sibling of five, Smith experienced a revelation in his final year of art school: that his family was an incredible blessing, and that he needed to sing about and with them. Over the course of the next 15 years, Danielson has evolved as a collaborative project between Smith, his family, and many friends – including Sufjan Stevens, Deerhoof, and Why? – and has earned a cult-like following for its experimental style and the unabashed celebration of life in its songs.
Beginning with 1995’s A Prayer for Every Hour, Danielson has released seven full-length albums and a slew of 7”s and vinyl pressings, but it’s perhaps his latest two – 2006’s Ships and 2008’s Trying Harts – that best personify the project’s ethos. Ships, hailed by critics as “a superdense wall of beautifully ramshackle orchestration” (from Pitchfork, who gave the album a rare 9.1 rating), is the culmination of over a decade’s worth of work. The album is a kaleidoscope of musical images that shatter notions of traditional song structure, and without fear embrace the Christian faith that ties the Danielson family together (though in perhaps untraditional ways). Trying Harts, in contrast, is a collection of the music that brought them to Ships, and celebrates the music’s evolution since Smith’s senior thesis back in 1994. And if one thing is decidedly clear from these two albums – and from Smith’s entire body of work – it’s this: his music is about celebrating the beauty of life and the relationships between family and friends. It’s all joy.
It’s not exactly a shock, then, that such a loyal group of fans has gravitated towards Danielson. This music is about community, after all, and it’s hard to resist one so full of gleeful exuberance. Those who have had the pleasure of seeing them perform live will have noticed their onstage garb: matching white nurses’ uniforms, with red hearts stitched into the sleeves. Listening to Danielson is a healing experience, and the nurses are here to deliver that healing power.
“Moment Soakers” will be released for purchase through Sounds Familyre records as the A-side of a 7-inch (and later through iTunes), but you’ll be able to stream the song on our site through Apollo Audio. The video from Danielson’s session and the stream will both go live Monday morning, so come check it out then!
Danielson will also be with us for our First Annual Concert Fundraiser - November 12th at Johnny Brenda’s - along with the rest of the 2009 Project Series artists. You won’t want to miss it! You can get tickets here or by donating to our Kickstarter campaign.
Tuesday, day 3 of the Future of Music Coalition’s Policy Summit featured an excellent assortment of highlights in the AM. Daniel Ek of Spotify was interviewed by FMC Communications Coordinator Casey Rae-Hunter, an hour long conversation and open question session with Ian MacKaye (Minor Threat, Fugazi, Discord Records) and Wayne Kramer (MC5), a conversation between Radio Head Manager/Advisor Brian Message and WIRED mag writer Elliot Van Buskirk. The afternoon continued with smaller focused breakout sessions.
We’ll have more detail on the highlights of the whole summit, particularly answers for our concerns about Spotify, and information on legislation that is near and dear to our hearts.
I can say that hearing Ian MacKaye speak, and especially talking to him (even a question from the audience that didn’t really seem to move him all that much) will always be a total thrill for me as long as I live. It certainly was today.
Another thing: There’s this thing called Band Metrics (@bandmetrics) that is coming soon and I can tell you it looks incredible. It will likely be one of the most powerful tools a musician can have to navigate their career. It’s still in private beta, but I spoke with the brains behind the project, Duncan Freeman and he is hopefull it will be out by late 2009, early 2010. I can say this thing is scientifically thorough, while at the same time capable of some pretty subtle and nuanced analysis as well. The demo showed radio plays (down to a single spin per station? - uhh… ANSWER THAT, ASCAP and BMI!) among all other relevant data, and from there could make incredible suggestions, among them, planned tour routes. There was much more from there. It felt like anything I could think of was possible in Freeman’s mind.
In the same breakout session that Duncan demo’d Band Metrics, another very promising application called Bands in town was discussed. A demo proved frustratingly impossible for the presenter, as their were adapter/projector problems. In a nutshell it aggregates all data from the top 60 ticket selling agencies, and from there can tell you a great deal. Bandsintown also has a widget for an artist to sell tickets as well, and the commission they receive from the ticket seller ends up getting split with the artist. Seemed very interesting. Can’t wait to see it in action.
A full Summit review will be forthcoming in the near future. We need to absorb some of these things, and we’ll get back to you!
This was a great day.
I am going to geek out a little bit, here, folks, and possibly (no, DEFINITELY) neglect to talk about a lot of great things that were discussed. In my defense, I bet everyone in the room today at FMC Policy Summit has some artist or band that largely inspired their entrance into the music business. For me that was REM.
Bertis Downs, REM’s career long lawyer and advisor, sat on a fantastic panel to start the day about DIY Models in music. I must tell you that from the time I was 12 years old in 1985, I not only knew everything about REM, the band members, their songs, and their videos… I was the kid who also knew who their MANAGER was and who their LAWYER was. Yep. By 36, the name Bertis Downs has been a part of my personal music register for the most of my life. “Berry, Buck, Mills and Stipe”, was incomplete, in my mind, without “Holt and Downs” tacked onto the end.
Flash forward to today, Monday morning at the Policy Summit: There I am, asking the panel a question, and there’s Mr. Downs answering …. conscientiously, enthusiastically, and respectfully … and for that little interaction with a guy who’s name I’ve know 20+ years, there was a little part of me “flipping out” on the inside.
But Mr. Downs’ really put the icing on the cake a couple hours later that same morning. After REM Bassist Mike Mills’ fantastic interview with newly sworn-in Senator Al Franken had let out, and sufficiently after the hub-bub died down in the lobby outside the conference hall, Mr. Downs seemed to go out of his way to pull me aside and introduce me to Mike Mills.
Talk about connecting with the customer!
The day was packed with informative debate all around. I feel a little bit silly for not delving into my thoughts around debates about net neutrality, ISP monitoring and filtering issues, the Performance Rights Act, Health care for artists, and many other key important topics.I encourage you to read the chain of messages surrounding all of them and more by searching #FMC09 on twitter.
I am having incredible fun.
I remember seeing the film “Berkley in the 60s” (a documentary about the free speech movement at Berkley College in CA which preceded and led to the hippie movement), and thinking to myself, “Man, these kids are so intelligent! I was a complete idiot when I was their age!” Perhaps this comes to mind because the sheer level of intelligence that surrounds me here at the Future of Music Coalition’s annual Policy Summit in DC. I am also here with Weathervane’s very own with Katonah Coster, too. She IS only 21. All around, I am thoroughly impressed.
Perhaps the most important thing I come away with from day 1 was a thorough understanding what the FMC is working toward. Founder and Policy Director, Michael Bracy described Radio’s demise since the 1996 Federal Telecommunications Act which deregulated radio and within quick succession did away with locally owned, independent radio, making the chances of local independent artists receiving airplay near to impossible. He then explained the concept of Net Neutrality, which simply boils down to keeping telecommunications companies from limiting what their customers can access on the web. It’s amazing to understand the potential revenue Comcast could earn if they only allowed the highest bidder to distribute music through Comcast, for instance, and that Warner Bros could actually offer a package that allows customers to pay smaller bandwidth rates if they use the limited selection of net coverage WB “bundles” in the package. This was particularly insidious once explained.
The Future of Music Coalition decidedly concerns itself with matters of public policy, and therefore WON’T be putting its nose into private service providers’ matters. I for one, though, see this as a bit of a missed opportunity to be the voice they are for the musician. FMC believes that the marketplace will determine what flies, for instance, with regard to Spotify’s decision to only allow artists that are on labels to stream through their service. (See this article from the Guardian Aug 2009). This looks a bit like the “structural payola” Bracy defined in his conversation about Radio Policy, and while I know Spotify is NOT a part of the terrestrial radio and FCC monitored structure, it certainly seems like it could corner a market, and therefore have similar effects. I personally don’t believe the average consumer will stop using Spotify with this knowledge (and for most they will never know what they are missing). This is not to say anyone can regulate service providers decisions, but musicians and consumers can use an informed voice. The FMC, clearly the most intelligent voice on behalf of the artist, should not miss key opportunities to clue consumers in on matters such as these and their ramifications.
I’ve been reading FMC articles for some time now, and they usually don’t miss such opportunities. … Just sayin’.
In this time when all musicians should be engaged in the struggle to define a future model for career sustainability, I can’t help but fear that the FREE business models, ubiquitously held to be the future of music, media and just about everything else, will be an embarrassing footnote in recent industry history. Worse yet, I fear musicians and artists themselves, the willing subjects they always are (yet rarely the financial beneficiaries) will be no farther along in their pursuit of a security with their art.
In the late 90’s we had the Dot-Com Bubble. Hundreds, thousands of businesses all started in a Dot-Com gold rush. Few had any vision for how they’d be profitable. Most of my friends worked at these places, and they were caught up in it as well… stock options, initial public offerings, etc. They could collect a paycheck, a GOOD ONE, for a couple years, but only because of a misguided venture capital trend. When the whole thing came crashing down, they all lost their jobs, and the stock they hoped would be their retirement was worthless.
Flash forward, 2003 - 2007: The Real Estate Bubble. I watched my own home’s “value” quintuple, as did many of my friends in Philadelphia, particularly in Fishtown where I live. But “asking prices” weren’t any indication of true value; they were just a future bane for people who were unfortunate enough to pay these prices. ‘Another bubble, this time fueled by a misguided, criminally lax, even “predatory” credit market.
Our cultural appetite for all things FREE comes from the behaviors and attitudes of the aforementioned era. Paying with credit… It was pretty much like not paying at all. The economy ran on home equity loans and lines of credit, something far too few of us understood and it all came crashing down. The mad rush to start new businesses that run on FREE (and the equal frenzy to retrofit the old businesses to get in on the action) is just all of us clinging to this old behavior. It’s a cultural attempt to keep that spirit of (apparently) “inconsequential” hyper-consumption alive, in a brave new world where we can no longer run up credit to our hearts’ content.
So here we are: 2009, The FREE Bubble.
Most FREE business models will give away products and services with the hope of generating site traffic and advertising revenue. IF advertising proves effective - that is, IF people pay for advertising and, more importantly, IF the advertising WORKS over time, then everything will be fine. But the latter, especially, is one humungous “if”. I know I don’t see advertisements when I look at my desktop. People more sophisticated than I can block the stuff that really gets in the way, and as for the things in the corner, the things that look like advertisements? Our eyes don’t even focus on them. We just don’t see them.
God forbid, if this thin path to revenue fails, then what?
To entrepreneurs caught up in the hype, FREE is quickly becoming the new, apparently “necessary” cost of doing business, and it is driving up a specious, perceived value for businesses by the dozen. In a year… two years?… Will FREE businesses work, or will this simply be another bubble? Only time will tell. If it is, this one is on the backs of musicians, artists, and the value of their work. As always, they are the perennial, willing test subjects, but in almost all industry models, they remain the last ones in line.
This is a great article (thanks for passing it along, Katonah).
You can scroll all the way to the bottom to see my comments, or read it here, below:
The problem is that in the past it has been easy for artists, and the industry behind them, to take their fans for granted. It’s simply shifted the other way: fans take the artists for granted.
I agree that the best spokespersons for a real movement need to be credible artists - ones that don’t simply appear to have eaten sour grapes.
I’ve been working with a few associates to design a new model. We’re in the US, we’re called Weathervane Music, and in a nutshell, we’re a non-profit, member supported artist development organization. We produce a series of high-end audio and video called the Project Series . Through the series a select set of sophisticated independent musicians have a unique opportunity to make recordings they can use and/or license to other for-profit companies, while the creative process is documented in video for purposes of exposure for the artists, and promotion of Weathervane’s mission. 2010’s series will include special guest curators, well known, well respected musicians, who have a chance to expand the significance of their taste in music, by selecting OTHER great artists for the series. You can see the projects at http://weathervanemusic.org/projects.
We can look at this era as a period of Natural Selection for the fittest business models, but I don’t think we can simply expect that the industry and consumer will naturally do what is best for the future of music in our culture. Just like the environmental movement required education and a shift in attitude throughout society to get started, music needs to be saved in the same way: by fans, artists and industry TOGETHER.
Check out Kyle Bylin’s recent article. Then see our comments below!
You are onto something, here! But whatever “saves the industry” is not going to just happen on it’s own.
We need to educate and inspire music fans to care for their favorite artists in such a way that they WANT to support them financially. Whether that means buying music (in the present) or participating in other activities that put money into artists’ pockets, it doesn’t matter.
Weathervane Music is taking a crack at achieving this goal. We’re a brand new nonprofit, and much organization still needs to fall into place, but we believe that building a membership of music fans and musicians alike that are willing to ACTIVELY support great independent artists (to be “ACTIVISTS”), we can start a small but powerful movement, one we hope will meet up with and influence whatever developments the industry requires.
It’s reassuring to see Eric Harvey’s (Pitchfork) quote: “… fans could take the initiative to create a new [structure that holds together the industry].” This is what WV hopes to be a part of.